High blood pressure is the most common form of cardiovascular disease. In Western Medicine, 80% of high blood pressure cases are termed Primary, meaning they have no known cause. Consequently, the treatment of high blood pressure in Western Medicine is limited to pharmaceutical drugs.
As most of us know, these drugs treat only the symptom itself and not the cause (which is unknown). Because the focus is on treating the symptom and not the cause, the patient is usually never taken off of their high blood pressure medication.
What is normal blood pressure?
In the United States, blood pressure is considered normal when it is below 120 (systolic) / 80 (dyastolic). Pre-hypertension starts at 120-139/80-89. Stage 1 hypertension is defined as 140-159/90-99 and stage 2 is 160 or more. The World Health Organization, however, classifies normal blood pressure as anything below 140/90.
What is interesting is that prior to 1993 stage 1 hypertension began at 160/100. Over the years, the American Medical Association has undoubtedly, in my opinion, been pressured by the drug companies to lower the criteria levels. Chronic drug use to lower blood pressure from 130/85 seems unnecessary to me.
How to lower blood pressure
For these reasons many patients come to our clinic hoping to find a solution to their lifelong consumption of high blood pressure medication. Based on Chinese Medicine, I classify hypertension into three causative categories.
The first is due to obesity.
High blood pressure diet
For every extra ten pounds we have on our frames the diameter of our blood vessels is cut in half. If someone is 50 pounds overweight, it is easy to see why their blood pressure would go up, not to mention the extra workload that is placed on the heart. Our method of treatment is to put the patient on a one to two month cleanse program. The result can be a 20 to 30 pound weight loss, in addition to a measurable drop in blood pressure.
If more weight loss is needed then the patient is given an eating regime, which will help shed the other extra pounds. We have used this approach in our clinic for many years, as we have found it to be effective.
The second cause is systemic inflammation, which means a total body inflammatory condition.
C-reactive protein high
Inflammation in Western Medicine is measured by a blood test of C-reactive protein. High inflammation can lead to excessive blood vessel blockage and stiffness leading to hypertension. In Chinese Medicine, inflammation is determined through pulse diagnosis. The radial artery at the wrist can easily reveal a systemic inflammatory condition leading to high blood pressure.
Our treatment for this problem is using custom Chinese Herbal formulas to strip the inflammation from the system. This anti-inflammatory approach seems to work better on high blood pressure than western anti-inflammation drugs, such as prednisone or methotrexate. These drugs do reduce inflammation but seem to have little effect on reducing high blood pressure.
Best medicine for high blood pressure?
Why Chinese Herbal anti-inflammatory herbs have an effect on blood pressure we are not exactly sure, but they do. This type of patient must also reduce their salt and sugar intake, since too much salt or sugar in the system has an inflammatory effect.
The third cause of hypertension in Chinese Medicine is hardening of the vessel walls. If the blood vessel cannot expand when the blood moves through it there will be an increase of pressure inside the vessel wall, which of course results in high blood pressure. Western Medicine has two classes of drugs which will relax the vessel walls. The first are ace inhibitors such as Lisinopril, and the second are angiotensin II blockers, such as Benicar. These drugs work well while you are taking them, but as soon as you stop taking them the stiffness in the vessel wall comes back.
Herbal medicine for high blood pressure
Chinese Herbal medicine also attempts to soften the vessel wall. We use concentrated forms of seaweed along with anti-inflammatory herbs. This approach does not work as quickly as western drugs, but when they are successful the result is more curative. How long does the patient have to take their herbs? It depends, usually one month of herbs for every year the patient has had the problem.
From a clinical point of view, how successful are we at treating high blood pressure? That depends. For example, if a patient is taking 3 drugs to try to lower their blood pressure, we, with their doctor’s approval, are often successful at getting the patient off of at least 2 of their drugs. If the patient is only taking 1 drug then there is a fair chance that we, with their doctor’s approval, will be successful in eliminating that drug.
How we can help you reduce your blood pressure
In Washington State an East Asian Medical Practitioner/Acupuncturist is not allowed to prescribe or un-prescribe any pharmaceutical drug. It is for this reason that we work with the patient’s doctor when it comes to treating high blood pressure. If the patient’s blood pressure is high and untreated when they first arrive in our clinic, we send them to their doctor first for medication before we make any attempt to treat the condition. We have found Western doctors to be very supportive and interested in anything that will provide a more curative approach to the problem of high blood pressure.